The Denver Broncos proved that they are the contenders while the Kansas city Chiefs are the pretenders in the AFC by virtue of their 27-17 victory on prime time Sunday night. The two teams in question may have just finished their most difficult challenge to date, as the AFC West schedule hasn’t appeared that tough through the first half of the season. Still, divisional games usually live up to the hype.
On the injury front, Linebacker Danny Trevathan got dinged up but returned to the game. This was terrific news, as Danny has been a key cog for the Denver Defense this season. In fact, he began the contest needing one Tackle to reach 100 for his career and finished with another 10 Tackle performance to surpass that milestone.
Wide Receiver Wes Welker sustained a Concussion during the game and will be questionable to participate in next weeks game in New England.
Tight End Julius Thomas will get an MRI this morning for what appeared to be a hyperextended knee. Thomas scored his 10th receiving Touchdown of the year, which tied him with Shannon Sharpe (1996, ‘98) for the most by a Tight End in a single season in team history. Only Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski have done that in the last 2 seasons.
Speaking of tying records, Quarterback Peyton Manning threw his 34th passing Touchdown this season and 71st as a Bronco during yesterday’s contest. Those 34 TD passes tie Jake Plummer and Brian Griese for the 3rd most in team history. He needs four Touchdown passes to set the team single season mark he set last year (37).
Rookie Running Back Montee Ball has 2 rushing Touchdowns in last 3 games after 0 in his first 7 career games.
It had to happen eventually. Matt Prater missed his first Field Goal of season on Sunday, after he had made 13 consecutive this season. It’s his first regular season miss since Dec. 16 of last season – he had made 16 straight going back to last season.
The Broncos 27-17 victory over the Chiefs was their 15th straight game scoring 25+ points and ensured their 26th winning season in franchise history. Coming into the game, the Chiefs Defense were allowing 12.3 points per game and the Broncos Defense were allowing 26.4. Suffice it to say, the Broncos took this contest seriously.
The Broncos had 427 total yards, where the Chiefs were allowing 326.9
The Chiefs put up 344 total yards on Offense, where the Broncos had been allowing 374.9.
On 3rd down, KC went 4-13 (30.8%) on Offense, below their average 36%. The Denver Defense was allowing an average of 38.3%, so they rose to the occasion. The Broncos went 6-16 (37.5%) during the game, well below their top ranked average of 49.5%, but above Kansas City’s top ranked Defensive mark of 25.8%.
Both teams ran the ball right around their average for the season, though the Broncos allowed more than they have for most of the year (144). 25 of those yards came on Chiefs QB Alex Smith’s mad scramble for empty yards with no time on the clock at halftime. He needed 46 yards and was pushed out of bounds to negate the attempt, so that stat is inflated.
The Broncos put up 323 passing yards, 30 short of their average (353.4), but more than the Chiefs have been allowing (208.3). Alex Smith threw for 200 yards, right around his average of 198.3 and still well under the Broncos average of 287.9 passing yards per game.
In the Red Zone, the Broncos went 3 for 4, which is about average and the Chiefs were 2 for 4, which is about their average as well.
Another key statistic that won’t be overlooked is the fact that the Broncos Offensive Line did not allow a single Sack to the NFL leaders and managed to get 3 of their own, as Shaun Phillips made 1.5, bringing his season total to 9, Derek Wolfe got one and Malik Jackson picked up a half Sack. Both Phillips and Jackson also knocked down 2 Alex Smith passes each.
The Penalty plague returned this week, with the Broncos committing 13 for 82 yards. Some of these were a bit ticky-tacky on the Defensive Backs in pass coverage, but there were a few more undisciplined and unnecessary gaffes that still need to be addressed.
In all, this was a win that the Mile High Maniacs wanted and one that the team needed in order to measure the 2013 season progress. They lead the AFC West with a 9-1 record, a 3-0 divisional record, including all tiebreakers with the Chiefs and have the No. 1 seed in the playoff scenario at this time.
As the band Timbuk3 once said, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”
– Kaptain Kirk